Shenandoah (Amtrak train)

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Shenandoah at Gaithersburg, March 12, 1978.jpg
The Shenandoah at Gaithersburg in 1978
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleWest Virginia
First serviceOctober 31, 1976
Last serviceSeptember 30, 1981
SuccessorCapitol Limited
Former operator(s)Amtrak
StartWashington, D.C.
EndCincinnati, Ohio
Distance travelled546 mi (878.70 km)
Average journey time14 hours 28 minutes
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)32,33
On-board services
Class(es)Unreserved coach
Catering facilitiesOn-board café
Rolling stockAmfleet
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s)B&O Railroad

The Shenandoah was a daily passenger train operated by Amtrak between Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, Ohio, from 1976 to 1981.


The Shenandoah began operating on October 31, 1976. The name came from the Shenandoah, a Washington–Akron, Ohio, train operated by the B&O until Amtrak took over the nation's passenger trains in 1971.[1]:29

The former platform of the Parkersburg station once served by the Shenandoah

Connecting service at Cincinnati to Chicago, Illinois, was provided by the Mountaineer/James Whitcomb Riley until 1977, after which it was provided by the Cardinal.

Amtrak discontinued the Shenandoah on September 30, 1981, citing low ridership. Amtrak considered the Shenandoah one of its "weakest lines"; the Department of Transportation had recommended its discontinuance in 1979.[2] Service on the Washington–Cumberland segment of the Shenandoah was replaced by the new Washington–Pittsburgh–Chicago Capitol Limited.[3]:126–127 The Cincinnati–Cumberland portion remains without rail service, and CSX subsequently abandoned much of the line.[4]:315


The Shenandoah originally operated with Amfleet coaches and a cafe car; one or two coaches were used west of Martinsburg, with two additional coaches on the more-heavily-used segment between Martinsburg and Washington, D.C. The original GE P30CH locomotives were replaced by new EMD F40PH locomotives in 1977.[5]:70 Consists varied based on demand; many trains were just two to three cars long.[6]

The 1978 switch to overnight service required the train to have sleeping facilities per Interstate Commerce Commission rules. Amtrak added two sleeping compartments each to a pair of Amfleet coaches (dubbed "Ampad"), which began service on May 3, 1978.A Congressional mandate resulted in a conventional 10-6 sleeper (10 roomettes and 6 double bedrooms) being added on October 28, 1979.[5]:69 The sleeper was removed on April 26, 1981.[5]:70


  1. ^ Sanders, Craig (2007). Akron Railroads. Images of Rail. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4141-9. OCLC 123357483.
  2. ^ "Shenandoah, Cardinal Make Final Runs: Congressmen Seek Ways To Keep Cincinnati Routes". Toledo Blade. October 1, 1981. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  3. ^ Reynolds, Kirk; Dave Oroszi (2000). Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Osceola, WI: MBI. ISBN 0760307466. OCLC 42764520.
  4. ^ Schwieterman, Joseph P. (2001). When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment, Eastern United States. Kirksville, Missouri: Truman State University Press. ISBN 978-0-943549-97-2.
  5. ^ a b c Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34705-3.
  6. ^ West Virginia Department of Transportation, State Rail Authority (March 12, 2013). "West Virginia State Rail Plan: Intercity Service Review". pp. 4–6. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.

External links[edit]

Media related to Shenandoah (Amtrak train) at Wikimedia Commons